It is the first time China has made the top five in the five-year history of the Ernst & Young Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices.

The latest figures, which track and score global investment in renewable energy in the first six months of 2008, show the UK has dropped from fourth to sixth place in the all renewables index, with China taking fourth place instead.

The US has kept the top spot on the all renewable index, followed by Germany and India. Spain is in fifth place.

The UK has also fallen from second to fifth place in the long-term wind index.

Ernst & Young said the Chinese success story is partly a result of the government’s renewable energy policy, which aims to generate 15% of the country’s energy from non-carbon sources by 2020.

The UK’s ranking has also dropped as a result of delays to the Energy Bill, which is still going through Parliament.

“China’s stellar growth in renewable can also be attributed to the speed at which it has built up its supply chain capability, to the point where it is likely to have nine gigawatts of manufacturing capacity in a few years,” said Jonathan Johns, head of renewable energy at Ernst & Young.

“China is also likely to become a significant exporter of wind turbine equipment in a few years, adding to its already strong presence in the solar industry.”

The indices follow a report published by The Climate Group this summer that said China has become the world’s leading renewable energy producer.

Mr Johns said a further consultation on the UK’s Energy Bill could lead to up to two years of relative inactivity, leaving just 10 years to meet the country’s target of generating 15% of energy from renewables by 2020.

Germany, meanwhile, has responded much faster to the EU’s Renewables Directive. It achieved 72.7 terawatt-hours of renewable energy production in 2006 while the UK managed just 18.1.

Kate Martin

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